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The Bearded Collie or Beard

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					 H erding Dogs

      looked upon its author as merely writing for notoriety
      the usual penny a line.
                                                                and       15
         Collie Folio, February 1909, p. 69:                              The Bearded Collie or Beard
       50 far so good, and for the achievement of these mercies
       the entire fancy ought to be specially grateful ta Mr W.
       Stephens, the Collie enthusiast and member of the
       Committee of the Kennel Club, Mr W. T. Herry, and Mr
      J. H. Jacques. We propose to purchase each a halo to be
      worn on state occasions.
         The Kennel Club have further enacted that owners of
      these Toys who have erroneously registered them as
      Collies can re-register them under this new 'Any other
      v~riety clas~' free of charge. Scribes who have taken the       Part of the early history of this useful type of herdsman's dog
      view opposrte ta our own may now prepare a suitable             before it became a pedigree fixed breed, is also to be found in
      memorial service in commemoration of their dear little          the history of the drovers' and Smithfield dogs. Research into
      idols, and no doubt we shall be treated to sorne elever         its origins, however, has presented more difficult problems.
      wriggling. For the present, therefore, we leave the subject,    The variety of titles given to this type of dog ranges from
      but can promise a return to it if at any future time efforts    Scotch, Highland or mountain collie to hairy mou-ed or shep-
      are made to resuscitate the agitation which had for its         herd's cur, depending upon the area in which one met him.
      objective such unworthy ideals.                                 Each title warranted separate research ta try to establish his
                                                                      ancestry, and it has been both a fascinating and a frustrating
                                                                      exercise. Fascinating because it led me ta discover so many
                                                                      facets of rurallife one does not normally encounter, and frus-
                                                                      trating because I could find no authenticated written reference
                                                                      of its real origin, just a few far-fetched speculations.
                                                                         The writings of my great-uncleJames      Bourchier, who made
                                                                      an extensive study of European and North African herding
                                                                      dogs, gave me one possible clue to their ancestry. He believed
                                                                      that the shaggy types of the British Isles evolved from dogs
                                                                      brought over from North Africa by the Romans, like the
                                                                      Egyptian sheepdog, sometimes called armant, which cornes
                                                                      from a district of that name in upper Egypt. When brought ta
                                                                      England just after the First World War by the Egyptian Am-

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 H erding Dogs                                                                                             The Bearded Collie or Beard

  bassador, one of these dogs created great interest, and accord-       burn introduced me to a Northumberland           farmer who was
  ing to an account in The Field those who saw him said he could        competing with his 'beard', as the locals called him; he gave me
  not be distinguished from our own beardie types found near            food for thought about origins. He had asked to meet me
  the English/Scottish border counties at thar time.         '          because of our mutual interest in old shepherding books. Re-
     It is interesting thar the armant and a Pyrenean breed, the        grettably, like so many with great stores of knowledge on these
  labrit, are very similar in appearance to our old beards, and         matters, he has since passed on, and his sons have forsaken
  both are found working on opposite shores of the Mediterra-           farming. His family had bred and worked this variety on the
 nean. Few people have the opportunity           to see the smaller     local sheep runs together with a few terriers (for different
 Basque or Pyrenean breeds at work, but they do appear in the           purpose) for several generations.
 French show rings, and when groomed and trimmed, they look                 During our conversation that bleak autumn afternoon he
 exactly like a sm aller version of a beardie.                          emphatically pointed out to me thar there was no intercourse
     The beardie is also iikened to the berger de Brie or briard,       between England and Scotland until 1603 when James VI of
 but in fact he is far more like the berger de Pyrénées, a real         Scotland became James 1of England, and then it was not until
 shepherd's working dog of which the labrit is one variety.             almost a century later that trade in agriculture and livestock
 These dogs must not be confused with the large white moun-             began to flourish between the two countries. Important his-
 tain dogs of the region, which were used only forguarding, not         toric events are never forgotten in the Border counties. This
 herding. There is also a Hungarian cattle dog called a pumi,           farmer said they may have been an ancient pastoral breed, but
 very similar in appearance to a beardie, and he in turn must not       not of Scottish origin, for it was only since the early part of the
 be confused either with the Hungarian puli, a dog of totally dif-      nineteenth century that a pure strain of this type of herding dog
 ~erent appearance. There are also shaggy types of herding dogs          became established over the Border, being descended from a
 ln Poland and other countries bordering the Baltic around the           strain of droving dog brought into Scotland from Wales and
 Gulf of Riga.                                                           west of the Pennines about a century earlier. 1later discovered
    Other historians believe that he is descended from a shaggy          he was referring to what were called the Galloway types.
type of herding dog brought to Britain by the Anglo-Saxon                   It was obvious from our conversation that he had caréfully
farming communities, and that possibly both the bobtail and              studied his excellent collection of dog books, and also those on
the beardie share this same ancestry. 1have mainly confined my           local farming history. He was most amusing - and often a little
study of his history and evolution to his role as drover's dog, in       uncomplimentary      - about those who concerned themselves
which capacity 1dispute theassumption       that he is related to the    with writing on pastoral dogs or other farming matters, and as
bobtail, for reasons 1 have given in chapter 4. Unfortunately,           we looked through sorne of his books we discussed the value of
when the bearded type was being transformed into a fixed                 the information given about this type of dog. ln particular, the
recognized breed, sorne bobtails were used. It is also claimed           references to Scotch or Highland collies in Edward Jesse's Anec-
that this variety of collie is 1f ancient Scottish origin, but 1do       dotes of Dogs (1846), as the title implies, must be treated with
not accept this.               1                                         sorne scepticism. Reading through its pages one is aware that it
    A few years ago the secretary of a sheepdog trial near Otter-        is intended as a witt y or fun book, written with tongue in

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Herding Dogs                                                                                             The Bearded Collie or Beard

 cheek, and thar the information is at best misleading. ln the        quently met shepherds working with a beardie type, sorne with
 Sportsman's Cabinet, vols. 1 and 2 (1803 and 1804), neither of       stumpy- or bob-tails. They told me thar this was the old-type
 which he had read he told me, the chapters or brief references to    drover's dog used for collecting livestock across the Border in
 Scotch collies were written by sportsmen not involved in the         either direction. 1 was also informed that he was a useful,
 shepherding scene and also make curious reading in places. As        strong ma~ket or butcher's dog. Before rail transport, graziers
 we have already seen, the Reinagle illustration often claimed        from the north of England made frequent trips to the High-
 for this breed has been claimed for several other breeds as weIl.    lands with flocks of young sheep as replacements or for cross-
   James Dalgliesh in his chapter on collies in Leighton's The        breeding, returning with cattle and ponies and accompanied by
 New Book of the Dog (1907) refers to Scottish or Highland            - possibly local - dogs. Cattle, hors es and ponies brought
 collies, but gives no history of the breed. He states that Peeble-   down by Yorkshire drovers are mentioned in many records,
 shire was the true home of the beardie and that he had judged        yet there is no description of the dogs, and without them, the
 them at several pastoral shows in the area, adding that Sir          journey could not have been accomplished. It is quite conceiv-
 Walter Thorburn, a patron of the breed, contributed prizes           able that the dogs taken on the outward journey were their own
 annually at three shows for the best bearded dogs owned by a         local dogs, familiar with the flocks, and local dogs familiar with
shepherd. ln fairness to this gentleman it should be pointed out      the ways of wild cattle and ponies may have been used on the
that the editor Robert Leighton states in his Preface that he has     return journey. ln the past dogs were bred and broken for this
'altered, excised or amplified sorne of the chapters to bring         type of work and owed no allegiance to their masters, their es-
them into literary harmony'; perhaps this was also the case here      sential qualities being a strong constitution and the ability to
as he includes rough and srnooth show collies under the same          survive.
heading.                                                                 The rearing of Galloway horses and cattle in that region of
   The Bearded Collie, a Foyles' handbook published in 1971           Scotland had always been a specialized business, and horse
and written by the late Mrs Willison, was the first book about        breeding was an essential part of the economy of most farms.
the breed. ln ir she made no extravagant claims about its early       The ancestors of sorne lines of our Dale and Fell ponies can be
history, simply repeated the opinions of others while giving an       traced back to the hardy ponies of Scotland, Galloway stallions
account of the part her own dogs played in the breed's revival.       being especially useful for crossing with local mares. Galloway
   Personally, 1have only come upon one or two beardie types          catrle were regularly sent down to the lush pastures of Norfolk
in Peebleshire, and it is curious that 1 did not encounter any in     and Suffolk to be fattened, before being sent on to Smithfield
the Highland regions of the north, although that is not to say        market. It is known thar the dogs that accompanied these
there were none there. However, ir gives sorne hint thar the          droves were aIl of the droving beardie type; strong, determined
original title 'Highland' may in fact have referred to the Gallo-     dogs which later became known as Smithfield collies, they were
way Highlands, as 1 found more evidence of the breed on the           bigger and longer on the leg than the beardie we see today.
west coast, and of course in the north-west of England, than             Information of this nature gives great credibility to the
elsewhere.                                                            theory thar there were two strains, the Border, and the High-
   When researching in the Border counties of England, 1 Ire- '       land or Galloway. A farmer in the mountain regions around

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H erding Dogs                                                                                           The Bearded Collie or Beard

                                                                         onwards regularly brought cattle and ponies from
                                                                         Scotland, and at times as many as 20,000 head of Scotch
                                                                         cattle could be counted on his grazings near Malham in
                                                                         Yorkshire. Wh en crossing the border into England, he
                                                                         employed a piper who headed the entourage aIl the way on
                                                                         to their new grazing:

                                                                     They also tell us that
                                                                         The Pratts families in Upper Wensleydale regularly visited
                                                                         Oban, Lanark, Sterling and the Islands in the first half of
                                                                         the nineteenth century. A descendant, James Pratts (1852-
                                                                         1927) of Burtersett, stayed at the Caledonian Hotel,
                                                                         Lanark, for sixt Y consecutive years, visiting auction marts
                                                                         and farms to buy Scotch cattle, shorthorns and sheep.
                                                                         Until1965 Mr E. Pratts continued to bring down cattle by
                                                                         train from Scotland each spring and autumn.

                                                                        We read elsewhere of lots of 40 to 100 cattle and any number
                                  ,
                                                                     of up to 600 sheep being brought down together in' September
                                  ~~:                                along the old drove roads, walking 15 to 20 miles a day depend-
      26   A group of beardie and border collies belonging to a      ing on the weather. Local drovers brought them as far as the
           shepherd in Crammie, Glen Cora, Scotland
                                                                     Border, resting at night in inns, farm buildings or caves, well
                                                                     wrapped up in their plaids, and then others took over. For
Craven, in the Eastern Dales of North Yorkshire, known               those who hold strong beliefs that this is purely a Scottish
locally as the Craven Highlands, told me thar the dogs used on       breed, th en there is no doubt that the deerhound figures in the
the local farms were described as 'Highlanders', and that those      family tree of the types found north of the Border. 1 feel the old
used as shepherds' dogs were somewhat smaller .than the              Welsh.grey figures in the.family tree of those from south of the
droving strains. The beardie and border types were frequently        Border, but ir was the beardiejborder crossed types which were
cross-bred and the different working instincts of each type          the most useful, and they are still used on farms today.
seemed to complement each other in the offspring.                       ln The Deerhound George Cupples mentions in severa],
    ln their delightful book, Life and Traditions in the Yorkshire   places the usefulness of the deerhound/collie cross, but we are
Da/es, Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby give us this amusing           left to guess which type of collie is meant. According to the hill
little snippet.                                                      shepherds 1 have spoken to, both in Wales and Scotland, the
                                                                     old-type beardie or shaggy dog was an excellent cattle dog, but
      A'Yorkshire grazier by the name of Birtwhistle, from 1795

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Herding Dogs                                                                                              The Bearded Collie or Beard

 when an all-purpose dog was required they were crossed with           ing the damp to penetrate into the underfur and often causing
 the border collie types found in the Lowlands of Scotland and         pneumonia. This can also happen to a heavy-coated dog, if not
 the Border counties of England. The temperament and quali-            clipped or treated in sorne way. The dogs had a second appli-
 ries produced by these crosses seemed to complement each              cation to the legs and belly at the onslaught of win ter to prevent
 other so weIl that the resultant offspring were bred together for     snow balling, a very necessary precaution when dogs are
 a further generation or two and then the process started again        working in deep snowdrifts. A recipe given in one book for this
with fresh blood.                                                      mixture was one gallon of tar to 17lb of butter - it is no wonder
     The crosses mentioned above produced two types of strains         that farm dogs were not welcome in the house! The beardies
 of beardie, one being black and white and referred to as the          seen in the ring today, with carefully groomed, long, textured
 Border strain and the other being fawn, grey or brindle and           coats, often parting down the centre back, due to excessive
 referred to as the Highland strain. The former were very              length, could never survive in the snows or heavy mists, but
popular at early sheepdog trials. The Highland strain may be           fortunately they no longer have 'to.
 descended from the forest dogs or he may be the deerhound/               By the 1800s a definite fixed type had emerged in Scotland
collie cross or indeed come from the strain found in the Gallo-        which was similar in appearance to the Welsh types, but said to
way Highlands which were regarded as excellent hill dogs,              be a selected strain from deerhound/collie     crossing. This new
possibly from an infusion of blood of each type.                       Scottish beardie was more of a sheepdog than drover's dog .
   . Many early illustrations, entitled either the English bobtail,    Beardies are not silent workers, nor do they work in the same
the Scotch bobtail or Scotch collie, aIl appeared very similar. It     manner as the border collie: they hunt and give tongue when
would be unlikely that an artist should see a working dog in           approaching their quarry, which has the effect of causing sheep
natural full coat; when the sheep were clipped out or shorn,           to herd together, and ewes and lambs to 'mother-up'. When the
dipped or salved, so too were the sheepdogs, thus mu ch would          flock has gathered, then another dog, often a sile nt worker like
depend on the stage to which the coat had grown when the               the border collie, is sent up to bring the flock down from the
artist saw the dog.                                                    hills.
     Before chemical washes and insecticides came on to the               To locate stray sheep away up on crags or mountainsides is
market, sheep suffered one further indignity .at the hands of          very different from herding sheep on marsh or lowland
man, that of being 'salved' in the early autumn. This involved         grazing. Weather conditions in Scotland often make it imposs-
rubbing the sheep over with afoul-smelling mixture of oils, tar        ible for a shepherd to see his flocks, but a team like this can
and fats. The treatment.acted     as a pesticide and also as a valu-   gather and drive by sound and scent in almost aIl weather con-
able protective coating in bad winters.or snowy conditions by          ditions. It can be appreciated that as hill dogs beardies were
holding the fleeces together, and the dogs also underwent the          most useful, and as drovers' dog they were invaluable. When
same treatment.                                                        working as a team with border collies they were capable of
     Onsome farms this practice was carried out.until190S when         gathering any livestock from remote are as and then holding the
the compulsory dipping order came intoforce. If a sheep has a          flocks or herds together day and night for the duration of the
long and heavy coat it parts with the weight of the snow, allow-       drive.

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H erding Dogs                                                                                           The Bearded Collie or Beard

                                                                      surgeon, had a great interest in Scottish working dogs. He felt
                                                                      the breed should not face extinction, so he set about founding
                                                                      the first bearded collie club in 1912 in Edinburgh, and a brief
                                                                      breed standard was drawn up. Unfortunately the club only sur-
                                                                      vived for a few years and folded up after the outbreak of the
                                                                      First World War. No further attempts were made until1930
                                                                      when that great doggie personality Jimmy Garrow, together
                                                                      with Mrs Cameron Miller, tried once again to revive interest,
                                                                      but this project also faded out. It is not clear if the breed was
                                                                      recognized by the Kennel Club or indeed if application had been
                                                                      made at thar rime, but twenty-five years later the beard seemed
                                                                      to have slipped in quietly through the back door and became a
                                                                      pedigree-fixed breed with full Kennel Club recognition and has
                                                                      become very popular in the show and obedience ring. For this
                                                                      aIl praise must go to the late-Mrs Willison who did so much in
                                                                      re-establishing the breed, partly through a chance meeting with
                                                                      Mrs Cruft, the wife of the man who gave his name to the most
                                                                      famous dog show in the world. Mrs Willison's original beardie
                                                                      bitch was bred in Scotland by a Mr McKie of Killiecrankie,
      27   A Perthshire shepherd with two beardie/border   crosses.   and Mrs Cruft helped to locate a mate for her in Devon,
           Photo: Bertram Unne
                                                                      so north and south met up to produce a litter that was to
   At the turn of the century, with the exception of a few regis-     start the revival of this attractive herding dog, albeit in a new
tered with the International    Sheepdog Society as working           role.
sheepdogs, the beardie was threatened with extinction; its place         Mrs Willison told me thar in the early days of breeding
was being taken by the more fashionable border collie which           beardies it was quite usual to find one or more pups in a Iitter
was gaining popularity in the trial field: The farmers, particu-      which resembled border collies, no doubt a throw-back to the
larly in Scotland, who bred and used the beardie type, did not        crosses 1 mentioned earlier. Since the beardie collie has become
trouble about pedigrees or breed points until the formation of        an exhibition dog, a study of his physical points has claimed the
the International Sheepdog Society, and even then only a few          attention of breeders above aIl else, and he has become what is
dogs were registered here as sheepdogs under rough, smooth            termed the 'improved' type. Working tests have been drawn up
or beard-coat types. Shepherding was more to the Iiking of            for owners who wish to participate, but these are more in the
beardie owners than cornpeting at trials, which was both cosdy        form of temperament and obedience tests and not a test of their
and time-consuming.                                                   ability to control any form of stock.
   Dr Russell Greig, a well-known           Scottish veterinary          Here once again we have a case where, if a breed had not been

170                                                                                                                                171
H erding Dogs                                                                                          The Bearded Collie or Beard

                                                                     champion of the breed was Ch. Beauty Queen of Bothkennar,
                                                                     suitably named, bred and owned by Mrs Willison.
                                                                        1 remember judging the classes for the breed at a London
                                                                     Collie Club show in 1964. There were twelve entries in two
                                                                     separate classes, and all except one were sired by Bothkennar
                                                                     dogs. The Best of Breed on that occasion went to Miss M. A.
                                                                     Taffe's Heathermead Magic Moments.
                                                                        At present there are two breed clubs with branches in various
                                                                     parts of the UK which give valuable information and help to
                                                                     owners, and there are also one or two good books catering for
                                                                     the modern history of the breed, exhibiting and general care
                                                                     (see Bibliography).




      28   Gillaber Glendronach, a bearded collie owned by Mrs
           Gill and Mrs Cook. Photo: Diane Pearce


taken up by the show fraternity, it could well have faded outIt
has inevitably altered, but so long as these dogs continue to give
people pleasure and companionship this is sufficient reward in
itself.
   The Bearded Collie Club was founded by Mrs Willison in
1955, yet the inadequate breed standard drawn up in 1912 by
the defunct club in Scotland appears to have been the one in
force when bearded collies were granted championship status
by the Kennel Club in 1959. A Kennel Club breed standard was
issued in 1964 and altered in 1978, but it was not until1972 that
the breed club held its first championship.
   When the breed was first recognized, only a few exhibits
appeared at championship or open shows, but separate classes
for beardies were scheduled at other collie shows. The first

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